Monday, 17 November 2008

Under the Radar Independent Opera at Sadlers Wells

The Independent Opera Company is "under the radar" for those who think of opera mainly in terms of big name celebrities and high profile "appearances". Yet for those who really love good opera and good theatre they are THE buzz on the streets. Yes, this is top quality opera but so lively, so fresh and so innovative that it draws in a mix of serious cognoscenti and bright young minds. Anyone who saw their outrageous (in a good sense) Elizabeth Maconchy operas last year will know what I mean ! This is utterly hip, utterly creative theatre, imaginatively applied to opera. Brilliant ! Big companies take note !

I've loved their work since their first Handel Orlando a few years ago when they struggled against huge odds to produce a magic. Truly "triumph over adversity", in the spirit of baroque. This summer they did a concert performance of the same at the Wigmore Hall which displayed how good the singing is, too. The star was William Towers who's a fairly big name now but has long been associated with this company. That says lots about them too : they draw a loyal group of enthusiasts who come because they love what's happening. Not at all like the sub West End wannabes that sometimes infiltrate the big houses to show they're "posh"! Independent's director is the charismatic Alessandro Talevi, a very gifted creative but also a great manager - the logistics of running an opera are formidable and he carries it off with such style !

Do not miss their Pelleas et Melisande opening tomorrow night and running for only three days. It's a special chamber version because you can't fit a full orchestra into the Lilian Baylis at Sadler's Wells but that's OK. The shining diaphanous textures of this music might sound all the better for being more intimate.

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